Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas 2010

My wife spoilt me for Christmas as usual! She bought me 4 really good Tamiya models to build!

They were; U.S. 2 1/2 Ton 6x6 Cargo Truck, Sd.Kfz. 232 Schwerer Panzerspahwagen 8-Rad "Afrika Korps", German King Tiger With Production Turret, and finally, the best Injection Moulded plastic kit ever produced, the Dragon Wagon 40 ton Tank Transporter!

I'm currently in the process of building the 2 1/2 ton Truck and will post some pictures of the completed model, after which, I will be writing full build blogs of the other 3 models, once I have got my Camera Phone back from the repair shop!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Hubble Progress 6a

Here is the second set of pictures of the last few stages of construction;

 These 2 pictures shows the Aperture Door glued in place.

 This one shows the Solar Arrays and the HGA Antennae arms glued in place.
 These 2 shots show the completed model, with both the interior and exterior sections together.

Hubble Progress 6

At last, I've finished my PaperCraft Hubble Space Telescope model! It took so long to finish because I have been working on other projects which needed my attention, so I wasn't able to spend as much time as I would have liked on the model.

Here is the first of two sets of pictures that I took of the last few stages of construction;

This picture shows the first of the diagonal Magnetic Torquers in place, a long with other smaller details.

This one shows all of the Magnetic Torquers in place, with the HGA Antennae hinges in place.

This picture shows the Grapple fixtures in place.

 This last picture shows the top set of Scuff Plates in place.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

'Chipping' my Chieftain

My current model making project is continuing with the weathering on my Chieftain MBT. My Chieftain has already had some weathering applied to it. In fact, it is one of only two of my models that has been weathered! I won't go into the reasons for this, I have already explained them elsewhere on these forums.

I regularly visit a number of model making web sites, and one of the things that has interested me lately is a weathering technique called 'Chipping'. Chipping is, in it's simplest form, the technique of representing the bare metal that appears in worn down areas of a vehicle.

There are a number of different methods of chipping, but the one I've been using on my Chieftain, in my opinion, is the easiest but one of the most effective ones. Simply put, it is just a matter of using an ordinary graphite pencil (in this case a Staedtler HB) to, quite literally 'draw on' the bare metal effect!

Here are a couple of pictures, the 'Chipped' areas are the areas which appear to be shinier than the rest of the model.

The  next thing I will be doing is to finish off the weathering of the tank's tracks.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Hubble Progress 5

Here is my 5th update for my Hubble Space Telescope PaperCraft model project.

This one shows the final few details added to the Aft Shroud

This is a close up of the last few details on the Aft Shroud

This one shows the first 2 sub-assemblies side by side
This one shows the interior inserted into the Aft Shroud sub assembly

This is the Forward Shield started and temporarily placed on top of the Aft Shroud. My hand gives an idea of the size of the model!
This shows the three sub-assemblies together

The next job is to add all the details to the Forward Shield, including the Solar Panels and High Gain Antennae.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hubble Progress 4

I've made a start on the Exterior of my Hubble PaperCraft model. So far I have nearly completed the Aft Shroud. The outer skin consists of two pieces joined end to end, with reinforcing rings and spacers inside.

This shows the first two reinforcing rings with the first spacer between them.

This shows the Aft Shroud with all the reinforcing rings and spacers inserted.

This shows the Aft Shroud with the Bay Doors glued to the exterior

This shows the final two pieces of outer skin detail glued in place.

The next job is to attach the rest of the exterior pieces to the Aft Shroud. These will include the Skuff Plates amongst others.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Hubble Progress 3

Here are some more progress pictures of my Hubble Space Telescope PaperCraft model;

This is the first section cut out of the lattice work that supports the Secondary Mirror. Cutting the lattice sections out was one of the fiddlyest jobs of the whole model.

This is all four lattice sections temporarily held togethor by the first ring. Just visible is the cut I accidentally made in one of the lattice sections. I haven't been able to repair this as the glue keeps coming undone and it springs apart!

This is the second ring in place.

This is the third ring in place, with all the lattice sections now glued in place permanently.

This is the lattice work glued in place on the Primary Mirror housing.

The Interior is finished at last! Note the Secondary Mirror glued in place at the end of the lattice section. I forgot to take pictures of the Secondary Mirror as I built it!

Reverse angle view of the completed Interior of the Telescope.

Now onto the exterior of the Telescope! More pictures to follow as I progress with the second half of the project.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Hubble Progress 2

Here is the latest progress on my Hubble Space Telescope PaperCraft model project.

I have completed the Axial and Radial Instruments and Primary Mirror housing. For the mirror, I used a small piece of normal household kitchen foil, which gives quite a nice reflective effect. So far, the fiddliest parts have been the 'Fixed-Head Star Trackers', the black camera lens type pieces on one side of the 'Axial Instruments Bay' (the main body).

I found it quite difficult to get the curve right on the cone shaped parts. A user on one of the forums I visit regularly gave me a couple of tips to use the next time I need to curve a cone.

This shows the completed Radial Instruments on the left and the Axial Instruments on the right.

This shows the two sets of instruments temporarily put together.
These 2 show the Fixed-Head Star Trackers glued to the Axial Instruments Bay.
This shows the Axial and Radial instruments with the Primary Mirror assembly glued to the bottom (the top in the completed model).

This shows the kitchen foil used for the Primary Mirror.

I made quite a major mistake with the Primary Mirror. The ring it is mounted on is supposed to fit around a disk that the instrument section glues to. The disk was slightly too large and I had difficulty fitting the ring around it, hence the ring being distorted. Stupidly enough, I didn't think of trimming the disk slightly to make the ring fit!

This shot brings us up to date, with the lens assembly added to the previous sections

The next job to be done is the lattice work that holds the Secondary Mirror in place over the lens assembly, that will be covered in my next update.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hubble Progress 1

Here are some pictures of the progress I have made so far with my Hubble PaperCraft model.

This is the 'Axial Instrument Bay' which is mounted at the bottom of the telesope interior.
Just visible are the wire handrails I had to use to replace the tiny paper ones with.

At the moment, this part of the model is upside down, it will get flipped over when it is attached to the telescope.

This view gives some idea of how fiddly this model is. You can just see the thin cardboard strengthening strips at the top and sides of the model.

And Now For Something Completely Different!

I've been getting 'model making withdrawal symptoms' lately, but due to financial restrictions, I'm not able to buy any new kits. Therefore, I decided to try an alternative. A few years ago, my parents bought me a fully working PaperCraft model clock. I managed to build about 75% of it before losing patience with it because of having to cut out all the fiddly gear teeth.

Recently, I happened to pay a visit to the Hubble Space Telescope web site. As well as all the spectacular photos the telescope had taken of distant galaxys, nebulae etc, there is a section about building your own model of Hubble. There are 3 different versions to build. The 1st version is a low detail model, made from all sorts of houshold and DIY materials. The 2nd version is a basic papercraft model, designed for beginners and, again with low detail. The 3rd version, the one I decided to have a go at, is a highly detailed 'expert' papercraft version. This comes in two sections; the exterior of the telescope, with the solar panels, antennae etc, and the interior of the telescope, with the mirros and lenses of the telescope itself and the various other instruments which allow Hubble to take such spectacular pictures.

I've downloaded and printed the templates and instructions for the two sections and have began work on the interior section.

These are the two cover sheets for the exterior and interior sections of the model, along with some of the tools I will be using to construct the telescope.

This is the cover sheet for the exterior section.

This is the cover sheet for the interior section.

I will post more pictures and progress reports as the build goes along.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Tips and Tricks. Part 4; Aftercare and Displaying your models.

This delayed post is a result of lessons I have recently learnt in the aftercare of my model collection.

The first and most important lesson that I have learnt is about the vinyl tyres that come with some models. I recently discovered that the vinyl tyres on a couple of my models had cracked and in a couple of cases had split right the war through. Quite by chance, while visiting another site about model making (sorry, I don't remember the web address), I learnt that this is due to a chemical reaction between the vinyl of the tyre and the styrene of the wheel rim.

So, how do we prevent this reaction occuring? It turns out that the solution is actually quite simple. We put some kind of barrier between the tyre and the wheel rim. An example of a suitable barrier would be to coat the wheel rim with a 50/50 solution of PVA glue and water.

One of the vinyl tyre splits shown circled red

Another problem that can occur, especially with some of the more recent models that have been released, is the real rubber used in some tyres. As we all know, rubber perishes over time. But what causes rubber to perish? UV light is the answer, i.e. daylight. So the simple solution to prevent rubber tyres from perishing, is to keep your model out of direct sunlight. But what if this isn't possible? Again, some sort of protective coating or barrier is neded. The same 50/50 solution of PVA glue and water can be used to coat the rubber tyres. This is quite handy as one of the methods used to weather tyres, is to mix diluted PVA glue with plaster powder and paint!

The second major enemy of any model collection is dust. I'm sure I'm not the only model maker who has this problem. We can't all afford to buy expensive display cabinets! My models are all displayed on open shelves in our bedroom. So how do I deal with the ever present dust? With a very soft brush, a gentle blowing action and plenty of care to prevent small parts being snapped off!

I've heard from some people that they use cans of air, the same ones which are commonly used by electronics technicians to clean circuit boards. However, I can't help being a bit scepticle about this method. For one, I can't help thinking that the powerfull rush of air can do as much damage as a clumsily used brush. For another, how does it cope with the stubborn dust that blowing alone won't get rid of?

In my opinion, gently sweeping away the dust with a soft brush, whislt blowing the loosened dust off is the best method of cleaning models.

The last major enemy of models, is the over handling that can occur when admiring your own handy work! Unless you spend extra money on some sort of sealant to prevent damage to the paint work, the only solution is to leave them alone! 'Look but don't touch'! If you really must handle your models to get a closer look, use something that will prevent the oil from the skin of your fingers getting on the model. I know this may sound daft, but buy a pair of white cotton gloves, similar to the kind that archivists and museum staff wear to handle exibits.

After all the hard work and effort we put into our models, we want them to last a long time. We want to be able to admire our handy work, in some cases we want other people to admire our handy work! These few tips, hopefully, will go a long way towards ensuring that your models last a long time and look just as good as the day you sit back with pride and say 'there, that's another nice model I've built'!

Friday, 9 July 2010

YouTube Channel

Check out my YouTube channel, it's at

There are 4 videos that I have posted so far, all of them are slideshows of my Military Model collection. 

Sunday, 13 June 2010

New Challenger 1 Pictures

Here are some new pictures of the best model I ever made. For more information about the extra details I added to this model, please read my previous post entitled; 'Best Model First!'.

Not only is this my best model, but I think it's also the best picture I've ever taken of any of my models

Good overall view of my Challenger 1 model

Rear view which also shows the camouflage pattern on the Commander's Winter overcoat

Another low angle shot taken to show the Olive Drab and Black UK camouflage scheme, it also shows the weathering I did

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Model Scrapyard!

A while ago I mentioned that I had a lot of models which were damaged and in need of repair. Amongst these models are 5 motorbikes and 3 cars. One of the cars is a 1:32 scale Volkswagon Beetle which I was supposed to be building and painting for my eldest nephew!

My model scrapyard!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Best of the Rest

To save me from posting up to date pictures of the whole of my military model collection, here are some pictures of the 'Best of the Rest'! The 4 models shown are my; German Leopard 2A5, German Marder 1A2 IFV, Russian T72M and Russian T34/76. My favourite of these is the T34 which I painted in a winter camouflage scheme over its dark green base coat.

Front 3 quarter view of my German Leopard 2A5

View of the turret, showing the Commander's camouflage pattern

This one shows how the side armour module opens out to allow engine deck access

Front 3 quarter view of my German Marder 1A2

This one shows the details on the turret

View of the Marder, showing the open engine compartment, with engine details inside

Front 3 quarter view of my Russian T72M

This shot shows the detail on the rear engine deck

This one shows the overall level of detail on the model

'Greatest Tank of All Time' My Russian T34/76

Front view showing the driver inside the tank's hull

Side view showing that famous silhouette